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Clair W. (Clair Wallace) Hayes.

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countenance such actions as I have just witnessed."

He boarded the car, which was just beginning to
move.

Big Jim stared after him.

"A good worker and a pretty big man," he said.
"Funny he can't see things our way. And yet he's
right with that last remark. Look here, Jerry," he
swung on his nephew. "You're getting to be a
pretty big kid; but if I ever catch you mixed up in
any more of these so-called strike riots I'm going
to take you across my knee."

"But we can't let 'em run over us," blustered
Jerry.

"What's that?" demanded Big Jim. "Don't you
talk back to me that-a-way, young feller. Now, I
been around this country a whole lot and I know
What I'm talking about. No good ever yet come of
violence and bloodshed, and it never will. If these
foreigners insist on stirring up trouble just because
we are on strike, it's up to the good American work-



'24 THE BOY TEOOPEES

men to stop 'em. That's all I got to say; about
that."

"And you're perfectly right, Big Jim," declared
Dick.

"You bet I'm right; but what are you doing here,
young feller?"

"Why, Big Jim," Dick replied, "I'm on my way
to the home of Ralph's Aunt, Mrs. Mary Whit-
comb, at the far end of town."

"And where is Ralph?"

"I guess he's there by this time. He has been in
Pittsburgh several days, and wired me to meet him
here."

"I see. And how's your brother Tom ?"

'Tit as a fiddle?"
'Around these parts now?"
f No. I left him in Harrisburg this morning."
Well," said Big Jim, "I'll tell you something.
It wouldn't surprise me to see him, and a whole lot
more like him, around Wilmercairn before long."

"You mean — "

"That's exactly what I mean. Now, us fellers
in the mills are striking for something we believe we
are entitled to, and we're going to hold out till the
last dog's hung as long as we've any chance of win-
ning. Trouble is these foreigners. They're mak-
ing it hot for all of us, and they ain't got started
yet."

"But can't you put a curb on them ?"



"1



01ST STEIKE DUTO 25

"Curb? Huh!" Big Jim sniffed. "They're an
ignorant lot, let me tell you. They've come to this
country thinking they can run it. Why, every
blasted one was a-scared of his shadow over in the
old country, I tell you; but the minute they light
here they've got more nerve than a lot of brass
monkeys."

"And the result, as I see it," said Dick, "is that
they are hurting your cause."

"That's just it. These foreigners and the so-
called strike sympathizers. Why, let me tell you,
half the trouble — yes, more than half the trouble —
blamed on the strikers is altogether the work of
these sympathizers. Sympathizers. Why, they
don't sympathize with anybody but themselves."

"Well, Big Jim," said Dick, "I can't stand here
talking all day. I've got to be moving."

"I've nothing to do, not for some time," said Big
Jim. "I'll go along with you. I'd like to see Ralph
again."

"Glad to -have you Big Jim. Will you come, too,
Jerry ?"

Jerry signified that he would, and the three
walked off together.

It was only a short ways to the home of Ralph's
aunt, and they covered the distance in less than fif-
teen minutes.

As Dick had expected, Ralph was already there.
He was greatly tickled to see Big Jim again and



26 THE BOY TEOOPEES

was greatly interested in the adventure Dick <had
just been through.

Ralph and Jerry seemed to take to each other
right off.

After half an hour's stay, Big Jim and Jerry were
about to take their leave, when a body of horsemen
came down the street.

The others stopped to look.

As they drew closer, Dick gave an exclamation.

"Constabulary !" he exclaimed.

"I told you," said Big Jim with a slow grin.
"Take it from me, Tom is likely to be here in a day
or so."

"Well," said Dick, "if there is danger of riots
the sooner they get here the better."

"Trouble is," said Big Jim, "you fellers won't be
on my side this time."

"Oh, yes we will, Big Jim," said Ralph. "We
are all on the side of law and order, you know."

But Big Jim shook his head and went off mutter-
ing down the street with Jerry.

"Well, Dick," said Ralph, "we seem to be in the
thick of it again. I wonder if Tom really will be
assigned here?"

"I wouldn't be at all surprised."

And, as it developed, Dick was right.

Tom arrived next evening to join the squadron
stationed in Wilmercairn.



ON STBIKE DUT2 27



CHAPTER IV.

THE STATE POLICE.

While Tom, Dick and Ralph are discussing the
steel strike situation in the Pennsylvania and neigh-
boring fields, particularly in the Wilmercairn sec-
tion, it will be a good time to introduce the three to
such readers as have not met them before. Also it
will be a good opportunity to say a word about the
Pennsylvania State Police, than whom there is
scarcely to be found a more efficient body of men in
the United States today.

Dick Hazelton, a lad of between seventeen and
eighteen, was just a few months older than his
chum, Ralph Harkness. Both boys lived in Harris-
burg, where they attended school. Both were well
grown for their years and proficient in all athletic
sports.

More than a year before this story opens they
had won the title of the "Boy Troopers" by lend-
ing Tom and the Pennsylvania State Police a hand
in rounding up a band of bank robbers. So valuable
had been their services that both had won the praise
of Captain Mahon, in charge of the Harrisburg dis-
trict, and the governor of the state as well.



28 THE BOY TEOOPEBS

As a result of this service, the lads had been
allowed to accompany Tom Hazelton to Canada dur-
ing their Christmas vacation, when Tom was sent
into the Dominion with extradition papers for the
return of an embezzler. There, following the es-
cape of the embezzler, they had again proved their
worth to Tom, and themselves had recaptured the
man after a chase extending clear across the country.

Once more they had won the praise of Captain
Mahon, when Tom gave the captain an account of
their services.

"You're a couple of fine boys," Captain Mahon
had said upon their return. "Some of these days
I hope to see you both members of the Constabulary.
You're both going to make the kind of men I'd like
to have."

Their Christmas vacation over, the lads returned
to school.

At the time this story opens, school had just
closed for the summer. Ralph had gone immedi-
ately to Pittsburgh to visit relatives for a couple of
days, and from there to his aunt's in Wilmercairn,
where he expected to remain possibly a week. There,
as we have seen at the opening of this story, Dick
[joined him, though not without adventure.

Tom Hazelton, possibly five years older than Dick,
had been a member of the State Constabulary for
several years. He was considered one of the most
efficient men on the force despite his short length



ON STRIKE DUTY 29

of service, and even now was being considered for
promotion to a sergeantcy.

The Pennsylvania State Police for years has been
the terror of evildoers in the Keystone state. It
covers the commonwealth with a fine-tooth comb.
No task is too difficult for it to undertake. Its mem-
bers are to be found first here and then there, on
trail of some lawbreaker or to put down more con-
certed lawlessness, such as steel and coal strike riots.

The sight of the grey uniforms for years has awed
foreign-born trouble-makers as has nothing else; and
it still does for that matter. Where strikers have
fought with mine guards and national guardsmen,
in few cases have strikers stood up before the state
police.

Consequently, after the mob riot in Wilmercairn,
Which marked the day of Dick's arrival there, the
town became quiet. While strike sympathizers in
Ohio and West Virginia continued to terrorize the
towns, the State Constabulary, mounted or afoot,
maintained order in Wilmercairn and other Penn-
sylvania cities.

'The w r orst trouble in this strike," said Tom to
Dick and Ralph the day following his arrival, "will
probably come in Ohio or West Virginia. Of
course, there may be some outbreaks in this state,
but I feel we have the situation pretty well in hand."

"Say," said Ralph, "you state policemen certainly
think well of yourselves, don't you?"



30 THE BOY TKOOPERS

Dick grinned and Tom's face turned a trifle red

"What do you mean, Ralph?" he asked.

"You know what I mean, all right. It strikes
me that you fellows are just a bit swelled up."

"Nonsense," said Tom "we — "

"I agree with Ralph," Dick put in. "I'm afraid
you're getting careless, Tom. It's liable to take
something of a jolt to put you back where you
belong."

"And you're likely to get it during this strike,"
Ralph declared.

"Think so?" said Tom sarcastically. "Let me
tell you something. Every time these foreigners see
a state police uniform coming down the street they
give it a wide berth."

"I'll admit you've subdued them pretty thor-
oughly," Ralph declared. "But, as you say, they're
all foreigners. Put a couple of Americans at their
head, and given an equal number of men they're
quite likely to put up an argument."

"Pshaw. No Americans are going to mix up with
them," declared Tom.

"That's where you're wrong," said Dick. "Un-
doubtedly there are a lot of professional agitators
circulating around this section. Give 'em time, and
you'll hear from them."

"You kids make me tired," declared Tom. "Just
because you've mixed in a couple of these rumpuses



ON STEIKE DUTY 31

doesn't signify you knew more than the entire!
force."

"It doesn't signify we don't, either," returned
Dick grimly.

Tom turned to Dick wrathfully.

"You kids take the cake," he declared. "Guess
I'll do my talking to myself after this. All you
seem to think of is trying to stir me up."

"Doesn't take much to stir you, does it, Tom?"
inquired Dick with a grin.

"Aw, shut up," said Tom, and stalked from the
room.

"Where are you going?" Dick called after him.

"Barracks," returned Tom, meaning the tempo-
rary structure erected for his squadron several blocks
from the big steel plant.

"Better keep one eye open," shouted Ralph.
"Some of these foreigners may sneak up on you in
the middle of the night, and — "

He broke off, for Tom was out of earshot.

Dick laughed loudly.

"Doesn't take much to roil Tom at that," he said.

"Poor old Tom," grinned Ralph. "He thinks
he's so much wiser than we are that — "

"Ralph !"

The speaker was Ralph's aunt, Mrs. Whitcomb.

"Yes, aunt?"

"I've told you before you shouldn't speak that
way of your elders."



32 THE BOY TEOOPEES

"But Tom—" Ralph began.

"He's a man, nephew," said Mrs. Whitcomb,
"and you are both only boys, you must remember."

"All right, aunt," was Ralph's answer. "But we
didn't mean any harm."

"There, there, nephew. I know you didn't."

It was not until after dinner that evening that the
lads announced their intention of walking down
town, if such the business section of Wilmercairn
may be called, and looking around a bit.

"May we go, aunt?" asked Ralph.

"Of course. But don't get into any mischief, and
be sure and get in early."

"We'll be back by nine o'clock, Mrs. Whitcomb,"
said Dick.

They left the house and walked slowly down the
street.

The great steel strike was now in its fourth day,
and everything seemed peaceable enough. From
day to day there had been talk of the men arbitrat-
ing their grievances with the mill owners, but for
some reason all overtures looking to such arbitration
had fallen through.

But despite the fact that on the surface every-
thing seemed quiet, there were those who knew that
things were smouldering. It would only take a
spark to touch off the conflagration.

And there were evil-minded men in Wilmercairn
who were preparing the spark.



ON STEIKE DUTY 33

From Youngstown, in Ohio, reports had filtered
in of a pitched battle between strikers, sympathizers
and loyal workers and steel mill guards. This, it
was said, was occasioned by the fact that the mills
there had been importing strikebreakers — some no
better than gunmen, from the lowest spots in New
York and other big cities.

There had been considerable bloodshed in Youngs-
town. State troops had been dispatched to the city,
and officials were considering putting the town un-
der martial law.

It was no more than natural that the sympathies
of the idle mill workers in Wilmercairn should be
with the Ohio strikers. There was talk on some
sides of organizing a good sized band of men to
arm and go to the assistance of the workers in
Youngstown.

But fortunately this talk came to naught.

Nevertheless, as Dick and Ralph walked along
the main street, they were conscious of an under-
current of unrest. Something was in the air, and
both lads seemed to realize it.

"Do you know, Dick,'* said Ralph', *Tve a pe-
culiar feeling that something is about to happen ?"

"Strange," was Dick's reply, "but I Have the same
feeling myself."

"And still it looks peaceful enough," said Ralph.

Tn truth it 3id.

There were small knots of men grouped on the



34 THE BOY TEOOPEES

street corners engaged in interested conversation.
These, of course, were strikers, but there was noth-
ing in their manner to indicate forthcoming trouble.

(But these quiet knots tonight were gathered only
in the American quarter of the town.

In the foreign section things were different.

There, too, men were gathered in little knots on
the street corner; but these men were gesticulating
violently. In several of these groups were to be
found Americans — professional agitators — sent to
Wilmercairn by lawless elements who hoped to profit
by the strike.

These walking delegates were enlarging upon the
Supposed grievances of the foreign strikers.

After walking through the business section of the
town, Ralph was for turning home, but Dick sug-
gested :

"Let's go down and look around the plant first."

"Think we should?" asked RalpH.

"Oh, we've time enough. It's only a little after
eight. We'll be home at nine without any trouble.
Besides, everything is quiet. There is no Hanger.*

"Well, it suits me," said Ralph. "It is a little
early to be getting home."

They headed toward the darkened part of the
city, beyond which lay the mills of the Wilmercairn
Steel Tube Company.



ON STEIKE DUTY 33



CHAPTER V.



THE PLOT.



It was very dark in the foreign section of the
town as the lads passed through. They walked on
beyond to where the dim outline of the big steel
plant, — its usually fiery blast furnaces dark now
and the forges still, — reared itself in the blackness
of the night.

Behind the iron fences the boys could see occa-
sional forms as the guards hired by the manage-
ment flitted from post to post, while outside occa-
sional pairs of state troopers walked up and down.

"Looks quiet enough here," declared Dick, as they
stopped for a survey.

"It certainly does," Ralph agreed. "Too quiet
for a steel mill altogether."

"Well, there's nothing to see," Dick said. "Let's
go home."

They turned to retrace their steps when Dick's
attention was attracted by a figure that darted across
the street and brought up closer against the iron
fence.

"Look there," he said in a low voice, pointing.



36 THE BOY TKOOPEBS

But the figure had disappeared, and Ralph could
not see it.

"What was it?" he demanded.

"It was a man," said Dick "and from the way
he acted he had no business there."

"He's gone now, at all events," said Ralph.

"Yes, I guess — no! There he goes now."

Ralph turned quickly at Dick's cry. This time
he saw the figure as it skulked along the fence,
stooping so as to be as nearly invisible as possible.

"He's up to no good, that's sure," said Ralph*
"What's that he's got in his hand."

"By Jove ! Looks like a gun," Dick declared*

"That's what it does. Guess we'd better keep an
eye on him."

Once more the lads turned and retraced their
steps.

Stooping, as did the other figure, they stepped
quietly after him. When the man stopped, the lads
did the same.

"Here comes a guard, just inside the fence,"
whispered Ralph. "Our man will be seen if he isn't
careful."

Almost as if in answer to Ralph's words, the
prowling figure threw itself flat on the ground.

Dick and Ralph did likewise.

Then so suddenly that Dick and Ralph cried out
aloud, there came a sharp report and the lads caught



ON STEIKE DUTY 37

a spurt of flame where the man they had been fol-
lowing lay on the ground.

Almost in the same instant the man leaped to his
feet and sped away in the darkness.

"After himr cried Dick.

Both lads dashed away in pursuit.

The fugitive turned and headed for the street that
lay closest to the steel plant. Once he turned and
glanced over his shoulder, but either he was so
afraid or so careless, he did not see his pursuers.

At the edge of the street, he pulled up. So did
Dick and Ralph, taking pains to keep out of sight.

"He hasn't seen us, that's sure," declared Ralph
as they slowed down.

"No, I don't believe he has," Dick agreed.

"What had we better do?" Ralph went on. "I
suppose he shot at that guard back there."

"Of course. Didn't you see him fall?"

"No."

"Well, I chanced to be looking directly at the
guard."

"Then that's what he was skulking about for."

"Of course. Now my idea is, that if we can keep
track of the assassin we may learn something that
will be advantage to Tom and the others."

"Good idea. Of course they'll want to clear up
this shooting."

"That's it. And we can do no good back there.
Others must have heard the shot, and if the guard



38 THE BOY TEOOPEES

is still living he'll get whatever attention is nec-
essary."

"Then let's get a little closer to this fellow. He's
likely to give us the slip in the darkness/'
i They increased their stride, until they were less
than a hundred yards behind the fugitive.

The man did not pause in the foreign settlement,
but passed on to the American quarter beyond.

"He's got his nerve with him," declared Ralph.

"He's takings the safest course, if you ask me,"
Dick replied. "If the police get busy the first place
they'll look for an assassin is in the foreign quarter."

"Guess you're right."

"Hello!" said Dick suddenly. "There he goes
into the drug store."

"Let's go in and have a closer look at him. He
won't know we followed him from the mill."

The lads entered a small drug store just on the
edge of the little business district. They went to
the soda fountain and called for a drink. Then, for
the first time, Dick looked around.

The lad gave a low whistle of surprise.

"What's the matter ?" demanded Ralph, not look-
ing around.

"See for yourself," said Dick guardedly. "He's
not here."

Ralph glanced casually about. Then, draining
his glass, he replaced it quietly on the fountain.

"Now what do you think of that ?" he demanded.



ON STBIKE DUTY 39

"Something queer about it, that's sure," said
Dick. "But let's get out of here before we arouse
suspicion."

They left the store, walked half a block after
rounding the corner, then stopped.

"Well," demanded Ralph, "what's the answer?"

Dick shrugged.

"Ask me something easy," he replied. "I'm no
clairvoyant."

"Tell you what," said Ralph after a pause,
"maybe he has accomplices in the back room."

"By Jove! I believe you've hit it," exclaimed
Dick.

"Then let's go back and have a look ?"

"And let 'em spot us? That would be foolish."

"Maybe we can peek in a rear window."

"Guess it's worth trying. We might be able to
see something, although if they are conspirators in
the back room they'll certainly take pains to pull
down the curtains."

"Think you'd know the man if you saw him again,
Dick?"

"I certainly should. Not by his face, because I
didn't get a look at it. But if I ever see that slouch-
ing walk I'll recognize it in a minute."

They proceeded cautiously to the rear of the drug-
store, where they perceived a single window.

"Shade's down," said Ralph disappointedly.

"So it is, but I hear voices," said Dick. "Now I



40 THE BOY TKOOPERS

wonder if they can have been foolish enough not
to close the window?"

They investigated closer.

The window, they perceived, was down, but just
beyond this they found a small door. It was through
this that the voices came.

"You stand here and keep guard, Ralph," Dick
whispered. "If you hear anyone coming, whistle*
I'm going to see if I can get a look through the
keyhole."

"Better be careful," Ralph cautioned.

"I'll be careful, all right"

Dick slippepd into a little entry-way. There the
sound of voices came plainly to his ears.

"You're sure you got him 2" asked a voice in
English.

"Certain. I don't miss often, Bill."

"I know that, but you might have done so this
time."

"Well I didn't. Now tell me, do you think this
one shooting will be enough to stir things up?"

"Do I? Of course it will. The next striker that
walks within shooting distance of that mill is going
to draw a shot. And that's just what we want.
Things are too all-fired quiet here. But let those
guards shoot one striker, and you'll see how fast
things begin to move."

"But the constabulary — "



ON STEIKE DUTE 41

"Pshaw! What's the constabulary? It's highly;
overrated, if you ask me."

"Maybe so, but these foreigners — "

"They'll do what we tell 'em from now on.
Haven't we done our best to convince 'em we'll stick
to the finish — that the state troops are too few to
stand in their way?'*

"Wish I could be as positive as you are."

"Don't get cold feet. Now we'd better separate,
and we'll lie low until we hear some striker has been
shot or something. Then I'll meet you here."

"All right. So long."

Quickly Dick slipped from his precarious position,
for there was a possibility that one of the two men
inside might come out the rear way. He clutched
Ralph's sleeve as he hurried past, and they darted
across the street

"Keep your eye on the bade ctoor there," Dick
cried, as he walked a few yards away so he could
watch the front entrance.

r A moment later he whistled.

Ralph came to him,

"There goes the man who fire3 the shot," said
Dick, pointing to a figure that left the drug store
and moved off at a heavy slouching gait.

"Looks like him," said Ralph. "What now?"

"We'll see where he goes."

They followed the man two blocks down the



42 THE BOY TROOPERS

street. There the assassin boarded a car headed
toward Pittsburgh that chanced to be passing.

Dick and Ralph sprinted but the car speeded up
and left them behind.

"Tough," exclaimed Dick, "but there is no help
for it."

"And we've lost the other one, too," declared
Ralph.

"So we have." Dick looked at his watch and
whistled. "Your aunt will be pulling our ears,
Ralph," he said. "It's after nine, but we can't go
home now."

"Can't, eh? Where are we going?"

"Why, we're going to hunt up Tom, of course,
and tell him what we've seen."

They headed for the emergency state police
barracks.



CHAPTER VI.



SETTING THE TRAP.



Tom received the lads' tidings, at first, with in-
credulity.

"You mean to tell me you know the man who
shot the guard!" he exclaimed. "Why, the shoot-
ing occurred less than an hour ago."



ON STEIKE DUTY 43

"No, we don't know who the assassin is," was
Dick's reply. ' 'We've seen him, that's all."

"And you'd know him again, eh?"

"I think so."

"By the way, Tom," said Ralph, "is the guard's
wound dangerous?"

"Dangerous ?" repeated Tom. "Why he's dead."

"No! You don't mean it!"

"He is, though. Now you boys come with me
and repeat your story to Sergeant Jewett, who is
in command here."

Sergeant Jewett was greatly impressd with the
lads' story.

"We'll have to round those fellows up before they
can do any more mischief," he declared. "Trouble
is we don't know where to find them.

"We know their rendezvous, though, sergeant,"
said Tom.

"It's my belief that the proprietor of the drug-
store is in cahoots with them."

"It seems more than likely," the sergeant ad-
mitted.

"Then why not raid the place?"

"We haven't any proof. While these boys might
identify the man who fired the shot, they can't con-
nect the druggist with the crime."

"That's true enough, sir," Ralph put in.

"But if there is a rendezvous like that in town it
should be cleaned out," declared Tom.



M THE BOY TROOPERS

**I guess you're right on that score, Hazelton.
Certainly we can't wait until some one else is shot
before acting."

But the situation settled itself.

While Tom and Sergeant Jewett were discussing
ways and means of conducting the raid, a trooper
was admitted to their presence.

"What is it, Phillips?" asked the sergeant

"Striker just shot by one of the mine guards, sir,"


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